4 months down

Its been 4 months now living in fengxian. My visa expires on July 2nd, but im going to try and fly to Hong Kong and apply for another visa- 6 months this time. For the past month i have only been into the core for gigs (played 5 last month) and a little bit of shopping. I like where Im living as far as the building and the staff goes, but its pretty tough not being able to call somebody up to go find a pub somewhere or drink a coffee or whatever. I bought a bmx and have been tearing around all over looking for sweet jumps and just trying to stay active- grabbed a gym membership too at the olympic training center out here. I can say very few things in chinese, basically “hello, cold beer, thanks”… I picked up three big language books but i dont know that im going to get the language without a regimented study schedule. That kind of sucks as id like to be able to speak with Jo’s family and just hold a conversation with people who try and talk to me when im out walking the puppy and stuff.

I really miss western food. That is everything from lebanese cuisine, italian food, smoked and cured meats, seafood thats not FULL of bones, a REAL pizza, a REAL steak with mushrooms and onions and hot sauce, oven subs, BBQ – that sort of stuff. That being said I do eat pretty well here though, but I just miss those things. Even the mcdonalds in my building is nothing like a mcdonalds in the west. I have been eating a lot of huanan and sichuan food from this little hole in the wall by my house thats crazy spicy which i love.

Theres certainly things that infuriate me every time i leave the house- the spitting and cigs being thrown everywhere, the people staring at me non stop everyday, where ever i go whatever im doing, the **** TERRIBLE drivers that are absolutely oblivious to whats going on around them ( that one sends me into a wild rage almost daily- If i were back home id have pulled the bat from my trunk and smashed windows out of cars for people driving that way), and the lack of regular social behaviours like waiting in a line or waiting for people to exit the elevators before you try and barge in ( i have learned to put my head down and charge the door at my building every time i get off now, after having found a little joy in knocking over inconsiderate people. they few I have ran into HAVE LEARNED!!! )

Since im a little far from the center where all the friends I have made live, I have been home a lot and have been doing a lot of work on 2 business plans, and have been working on a new Booking agency to represent and promote north american performers here in the Asian market. I have some well known internationally touring artists that I will be working with on that project which seems to have the most steam at the moment. i have also built a home studio for music production and graphic design, the problem is not drinking beers all the time and working on tunes, its sort of counter-productive. I have also been reading a lot of books, mostly in the sci fi vein and staying on top of game of thrones.

If you want to see some of the photos I have taken here (probably about 200 thus far) please check out my instagram page!

Its May!

WOW, I cannot believe how fast time is going. It seems like just a few weeks ago I packed up my life in Calgary and boarded a plane with a one way ticket to the other side of the world. It has been pretty eye opening so far and I have barely scratched the surface of this crazy culture. May has brought me some good fortune on the DJ front and I have made some awesome friends here. I was booked every weekend so far and coming up before months end I am doing an event for Glenfiddich at a club called Skybar. If this gig goes well I will have the opportunity to travel through out Asia with them doing events over the course of the summer. I had planned to  do some travelling on my own with Jo on the new Maglev train, but the weather hasent been consistently sunny yet- to be expected in Spring I suppose. All in all the weather has been warm though even if its raining, which is nice after a Canadian winter.

I have also accepted a request to come on board as a resident Dj at a very cool rooftop club on Shanghais waterfront called Zeal ( http://www.zeal-shanghai.com/ ). I will be doing the second Friday of every month as my own house music focused event and the last Saturday every month i will be hosting hip hop acts from around the world. Really excited about the opportunity here and looking forward to exposing the city to some of the amazing artists and performers I know from home.

I have recently extended my visa for another two months as I try to get a work visa secured to stay indefinitely. Other then that not to much is new, just spending my days networking online and working on a few business plans, walking the dog and doing a lot of reading. Hopefully ill be able to really dig in to the home studio project by then end of the month when a friends of mine here moves back to the USA and sells me all his equipment. I miss all my friends back home tons, you guys are the best!

One Love.

PS check my instagram for updated photos


April update

So it’s now the end of the first week in April here in Shanghai (and the rest of the world I suppose). The weather hasn’t warmed up all that much but it has been a bit wetter. It seems rainy nights and windy days are quite common in spring here. On the home front we really haven’t been doing too much other then seeking out some new restaurants, going for walks around our neighbourhood and raising the puppy. Our internet connection is quite fast so I have been taking this opportunity to catch up on all the movies I have missed in theatres over the past year or so. I have also seized the opportunity to start doing more ableton tutorials trying to step up my production skills so I can really use Asia to jump off and do some touring around the continent.

We haven’t been venturing into the downtown core too much lately, it’s not really Johanna’s thing to go out clubbing and socializing. This has been a bit of a stumbling block for us as that’s EXACTLY what I want to do. I want to see all the parks, museums, networking events, nightclubs and all that jazz. I have been connecting with a lot of locals in the music scene through facebook over the last while and the two times we have gone out I have met about 20 people each time. For me it is really important to go out and see some shows, and meet some people and check out new venues and try and find the best team to align myself with to make some moves here. I have checked out a really cool (Canadian owned) lounge called Shiva and another bigger house music club called Lola. Both cool spots in their own right. The chinese bars here are much different then western clubs though as chinese people are so reserved and introverted. They don’t dance or socialize or generally have any idea how to throw a party and enjoy themselves. A prime example of this is one of Shanghai’s newest super clubs “Richbaby”. The bar itself is huge and beautifully made with two distinct rooms. My experience my first and only time there was interesting. One one hand I was blown away by the interior design and the sheer size of the soundsystem, on the other hand they were playing hard electro remixes of shitty Rhianna and other bullshit songs, the volume was at 11, the strobe lights were on the ENTIRE time, the dancefloor was full of tables where chinese people were sitting down and texting each other, and they played gangnam style approximately 5 minutes into my stay. Needless to say, not really my kind of joint to hang out in, but I have contact management to try and book a gig there and show them house house music works.

Speaking of gigs I have my first on here on April 19th at a bar called Mansion and my second one on the 29th at Shiva lounge. Mansion is literally that- a mansion where some Djs live but has also been converted into a club. I have yet to see the place but I am told it’s pretty cool.

Aside from that I am still just enjoying the life of luxury and don’t have any real responsibilities as of yet. To tell you the truth its pretty boring, but I do have a meeting with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai in a week to discuss the business ideas I have and hopefully get lined up with a mentor to try and make some of them a reality. I miss all my friends back home a fair bit too, kinda sucks knowing there isn’t a native english speaker anywhere within 30 minutes of you, especially when you cant speak Mandarin..
















First thoughts

As I sit back on this Monday morning and reflect on my time here in Shanghai thus far, I cant help but miss home a bit. Shanghai is a really cool diverse, modern city with everything to offer, but I can’t help missing the small things in Halifax. Knowing I could walk down Spring Garden rd and see 15 of my closest friends, cold beers on the sailboat bumming around the harbour, the patios on Argyle and the freezing water at Rainbow haven.

I am basically as far as I could possibly be in the world from all that right now and as much as its liberating, its a little melancholic.

A little bit on where I live. I am currently living in the Fengxian district which is south east of the downtown core- about a 25-35 minute drive depending on traffic. This is considered the suburbs of Shanghai and its mostly large housing complexes with commercial spaces below them. Most of the development here was done 20+ years ago and the upkeep hasent been done very well, but that being said, due to the overpopulation of the downtown core the government has decided that Fengian will be used for more residential development. when driving into the city there are massive highrise house complexes in various states of construction- each project with at least 10 identical buildings, some with over 30! Its a crazy sight to see.

Out here the gap between the nouveau rich and the destitute is very obvious. There are brand new Audi’s, BMW’s, Mercedes and all sorts of other luxury vehicles stopped in traffic surrounded by people wearing essentially rags driving by on bicycles from the 60′s. The building I am living in is newly constructed and absolutely gorgeous. Huge marble foyer, very modern units, doormen, security cameras everywhere- they even roll out a red carpet some days ;) On the first two floors there are some businesses like a bank and a McDonalds and they are building a KTV bar a jewellery shop and an ice cream bar.

Across from us is a beautiful luxury hotel and a slew of other small businesses and restaurants (including a spectacularly spicy Sichuan/Hunan joint that I love). Down the road a few blocks in either direction are two markets/malls where there is everything from department stores to many restaurants, jewellers and anything else one could need.

Being outside of the core, I am definitely the only white guy a lot of these people have seen in the flesh and its quite apparent from the stares that im a novelty. At first it was a little off-putting, but now I understand its just curiosity and everyone I have met has been pretty friendly.

I got to meet most of Jo’s extended family the other day for dinner and they cooked up a HUGE feed for us including some traditional dishes I had never had before like jellyfish and bamboo stalks. They were all very kind and happy to meet me and look at the the pictures in my iphone :)

I have only spend a total of maybe 5 hours downtown, but its been raining a fair bit the past week. i am going to go in for a reddit meet up for sure next weekend and maybe a few times this week to see what i can take in. I am going to be travelling to Bejing and through rural China with Jo’s family in a few weeks when it warms up (im excited to take their new futuristic Meglev train!!) and have been actively doing online mandarin lessons so I can try and communicate with more than one person in this country :)

Thats all for now !














Made it to Shanghai!

So after a night of partying to a world famous DJ in Calgary, no sleep, a 17 hour trip with one lay over in Van city- I arrived in Shanghai safe and sound.

My first thoughts were “is there something on my face?” As EVERYONE in the airport was staring at me relentlessly. I guess when you see billions of Asians all day everyday a handsome devil of a white guy is a refreshing change. My gf and her parents (who don’t speak a word of English) met me at the arrivals gate.

We drove to a mall in the district we are staying – Fengxian, and had a big meal paired with American red wine and Chinese cigarettes. It was quite tasty and enough to put me to sleep. We booked home and I promptly passed out.

I have been here for two full days and am getting to know the area a bit better. I’m looking forward to running around downtown and really getting immersed in the city.

Ill post pictures and more thoughts later on!

One love